UG Tips: AT&T at Pebble Beach
Pebble Beach hosts this weeks AT&T at Pebble Beach, with Spyglass and Monterey also being used during the first three days. With the tournament being played as a pro-am, conditions are generally favourable for the players, so don’t expect a US Open set-up. Out of the 3 courses, Monterey would be deemed the easiest with Pebble an easier test than Spyglass.
Historically, the tournament produces high-class winners, with the likes of Spieth, Johnson, Mickelson and Woods among the recent winners. Something to look out for will be the wind, which looks set to be strongest on Saturday. A couple of years ago, Jordan Spieth came unstuck on a particularly drafty day at Pebble on Saturday – out of the three courses, Pebble will be the last they’ll want to play in high wind.
Another consideration will be the return to Poa Annua greens, upon which there are a few specialists – there are even rankings for this! Dustin Johnson tops these (hardly surprising given his record at Pebble alone) closely followed by Jason Day. Some players really struggle with the greens and should be avoided.
DJ goes in as a huge favourite, but at 5/1 doesn’t offer any value. It’s a star-studded field, and there will be fine cases made for any of the big-dogs.
Jason Day 11/1 – Stake £10 e/w Potential return £157.50
Having won a couple of weeks ago at Torrey Pines, Day will be buzzing. He’s had a week off to reset and will be very much looking forward to returning to a tournament where he has been in the top6 three times in the last 5 years. Ranking 2nd in strokes gained on Poa Annua greens, he’ll be very comfortable on the surfaces. He’ll also be relieved that there isn’t so much of a premium placed on accurate driving, which historically hasn’t been a good gauge of success. With confidence and fine field to re-establish himself against, Day will relish the week and I expect him to get on a bit of a run these next few weeks.
Phil Mickelson 33/1 – Stake £10 e/w Potential return £432.50
Aside from a calamitous final hole at Scottsdale last week, Phil was right in amongst it coming down the stretch. He’s showing some great form this season and it feels like his long winless drought will soon come to an end. He relishes the relaxed atmosphere of the format and given his track record in the event it would be no surprise to see it end here. He’s another guy who feels comfortable on the “Po”.
Brandt Snedeker 40/1 – Stake £10 e/w Potential return £520
Known in some corners as the “King of Po”. Butch loves to talk about Sneds “poppy” putting stroke to being perfect on the po – perhaps pointing to the fact that he’s won here twice and was 4th last year. He’s had a steady, yet unspectacular year thus far, but there were signs at Torrey that he’s coming back. He should always be considered here – and notably is proven in the wind, which may help as he could be exposed at Pebble on Saturday.
Chesson Hadley 40/1 – Stake £10 e/w Potential return £645
Many of you will have seen Hadley among the final groups this season. Well, he’s having a spectacular season with 4 top 5 finishes in 7 events. He’s also managed two top 10 finishes from 3 starts in this tournament – when he was unknown. He’s looking like making a real breakthrough this season.
Rafa Cabrera-Bello 80/1 – Stake £5 e/w Potential return £510
It’s a real surprise to see Rafa at such long odds, considering his consistent performances. He’s ranked 21 in the world and just doesn’t miss cuts! He’s been in the top 10 in 4 of his last 7 starts, plays beautifully and has the perfect temperament for the pro-am format. Greens in regulation has been key to success at Pebble over the years, and as Rafa ranks 2nd (78.7%) this season on the PGA Tour, he’s going to give himself every chance.
Nick Watney 125/1 – Stake £5 e/w Potential return £791.25
Sometimes you wonder if he is Butch Harman’s lovechild, given the enthusiasm of Tiger’s former coach every time “Nicky” comes on screen. One thing that isn’t in doubt is that the California native is coming back to form AND he loves the Monterey Peninsula. His last two visits have yielded a 2nd place and T14 (when he wasn’t in nearly as good a form as now). At 125/1 this feels like a good punt on the man Butch likes to call “the nicest guy in golf”.